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Grief is a part of our lives. So few people talk about it because they’re afraid of the emotions. And they’re afraid of not being understood. They’re afraid of the platitudes and well-intentioned claptrap that does nothing to soothe their broken hearts. Especially grieving mothers and parents.
Misconceptions About Healing
Unless you’ve lost a child, whether it be through miscarriage, stillbirth, disease, or otherwise, you can never understand how it feels and what it’s like. Before I lost my Christian, I had no understanding of why a woman would still express pain and sorrow years after the death of her child. I wondered why she didn’t just get over it. I thought that eventually she just came to terms with it and the pain went away. Like magic. It just got better. You know what they say, “time heals all wounds.” Except the problem is that whoever “they” are are totally wrong. And so was I in assuming that grief just ended. So very, very wrong.
More Children Don’t Equal Healing
There is a misconception that a woman, especially one who’s been through a miscarriage, can “just have another baby.” Or that with the appropriate time you’ll have another child and everything will just be ok. Is another child supposed to erase the loss of your baby?
What people to fail to realize is that you don’t want “another” child. You want the one you lost! If you have four children and one passes away do you just feel lucky to have the other three and the pain of your loss is erased? If you have four grandparents and one dies do you just move on because you have three more? No! Just having someone else in your life doesn’t erase the pain of what you’ve lost. It might help you deal with the pain better, but it in no way takes that pain away. Growing a life inside you, no matter how long or short, gives you a connection like no other. And if you lose that baby it cannot just be replaced by another baby.
What I Really Lost
While, yes, I want more children, what I really want is my Christian. He is my firstborn. He is the son I never knew I wanted. Christian mattered the world to me. And for my pregnancy and his 29 days of life, he was my world. Everything I did was for him, from the day I got pregnant until the day he passed. No one will ever replace him. I will always wonder what he would look like at one, five, fifteen. I will always wonder what our lives would have been like together and what things he would have accomplished.
Christian was a fighter and I know he would have accomplished so much, special abilities or not. I will always wonder which of the dogs would have been his favorite. What he would have thought of them, and who would have been the most protective of him. I will always imagine what toys he would have liked and what would have been his favorite Disney ride. You see, I didn’t just lose my baby. I lost the ability to watch him grow and to be a momma to him. Our future together is gone. I lost being able to see him on his first day of kindergarten, his last day of high school, his college graduation.
The Depth of Loss
That’s what baby and infant loss means. You not only lose the present you were planning on and hoping for, you lose the future you so desperately wanted. It’s easy to judge people when you think you would do something differently in their shoes. But the loss of a loved one is a unique and solitary journey. Mother’s who’ve lost children are a part of an exclusive club that no one ever wishes to join. Our grief is so singular and becomes an elemental part of us that never goes away.
So does time heal all wounds? No. It may heal some, or many, but it doesn’t heal grief. Time gives you distance from the memories and the instances of grief, but it doesn’t heal them. Your heart still aches for the loved one you lost. In ten years, whether I have more children or not, I will still mourn my Christian on his birthday and wonder how much he would look like his daddy. It will always hurt, just hopefully not as much as it does now.